Brand Experience, Shelley Rostlund

Brand Experience, A Full Sensory Interaction

Apr 15, 2022 | Experience

Brand Experience is not just customer experience or employee satisfaction – its way more than that. Brand experience cares about anyone who comes into contact with your brand. Customers, readers, viewers, strangers walking by…even the neighbour’s dog. In essence, for me, your Brand Experience is the total emotive and full sensory interaction anyone has with your brand that triggers a feeling.

It is crucial that your brand experience is mapped directly from your vision and values, through your value proposition, baked into your products…and reverberates into the ether…as people experience you on so many different levels.

What influences Brand Experience?

Brand Experience humansBefore you think about digging into customer satisfaction surveys, I’d like to demonstrate how wide the berth is for you to get it “wrong” when people experience you as a brand. I have seen way too many businesses (big and small) fail miserably in their brand experience – especially during and after the pandemic. (I mean after the initial pandemic hit, then we realised what adjustments needed to be made).

Humans are complex, feeling and meaning-making beings. That should already be an indication of the myriad of touch points where you have an opportunity to create a positive or a negative emotion.

To help describe this to the entrepreneurs who build their Brand Experience Matrixes with me, inside my group programme, I have split Brand-Ex influences into four main categories:

  1. Purpose
  2. Products
  3. Processes
  4. People

After mapping out all the possible things I could think about, or have experienced myself around coming into contact with, or buying into a brand or business, I could slot them all under these four headings.

The Four Brand Experience categories

#1 Purpose

This covers: your WHY; your tone of voice (Brand Voice); point of view (brand principles, values); and of course the environment you create around your brand.

#2 Products

This encompasses: the value you bring to the table; the design of your products; how you package your products (bundle, unbundle, physical packaging); and your pricing.

#3 Processes

These could be around: marketing and delivery of your products; the service you provide around your products; content you create; and the transactional/administrative element to your business.

#4 People

This is about: the relationships you have; your personality; associations (with other people/brands/products); behaviour (from you, to your team); and community (paid, unpaid, voluntary).

Experience is the last remaining differential

Brand experience differentialYes, I’m sorry, this is a fact. Unless you invent something that is new to the world, or market – you are not original, or terribly unique in what it is that you do. Unfortunately, the sad thing is that everything today is commoditised. The only remaining differential is experience.

If you are not planning and focussing on your brand experience, then you are losing out on actually standing head and shoulders above the rest (or at least helping to rise the tide).

Experience brings value. Value means you can raise prices, and avoid being price compared like a commodity. Chew on that for a bit.

Brand Experience mapping

This is a thing. Smart micro business owners are doing it, right now.

They want to be genuinely authentic about what their offer is and, it would delight them no-end, to know that their audiences, customers and broader communities are, indeed, experiencing them as they would like them to.

This takes some work.

It’s not a “pie-in-the-sky” job, but it does require some dream thinking.

It’s not an easy job, as it requires some reality checks and physically putting in place activities, processes and systems into your day-to-day business to make it happen.

But, boy, when you do? Sparks fly, smiles happen, people are enthused, your brand hits the mark and before you know it: you are in demand.

You would do a similar exercise to ‘customer journey’ mapping – but broaden your lens much more.

My top 6 tips to Brand Experience mapping

  1. Use the four Brand Experience categories to guide your focus (purpose, products, processes, people)
  2. Overlay with the stages you have in attracting and gaining new prospects, as well as in what you do when you onboard and retain customers (I have 7 stages to what I call the Customer Marketing Journey)
  3. Keep the ideas realistic (so that you have a good chance of being consistent in applying this work every single day)
  4. Plan for more meaningful interaction (and less superfluous self-serving activities)
  5. Bake in sustainability. You want people to say that the thing that makes them happy about you – EVERYONE can experience, at any point in time. (So, along with consistency, make sure you can also do it for the long term)
  6. Stick to what you can control (and influence). Avoid stressing about the things you can’t (just make sure you can manage negativity about anything – if it comes your way)

Brand Experience work is not for the feint hearted, I get that. However – it can be an incredibly uplifting and regenerating exercise to do. The outcomes of the work actually fuels your enjoyment of being who you are, doing the thing that you do.

By focussing attention on ensuring that your vision is actually played out in your day-to-day work – no matter who comes into contact with you / your brand – is like MAGIC when you see it in action.

You could join other entrepreneurs who, like you, are interested in building authentic brands that actually do what they say they do, and matter to the people who come into contact with them. Learn more about my Brand Compassā„¢ Programme, and hop on the VIP waiting list to be the first to hear when the next term starts.

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